What to do and see in Stellenbosch, South Africa: The Best Places and Tips

December 23, 2017 Diedre Savory

Hiking trails and art galleries abound in Stellenbosch, but it's wine that takes center stage. More than 100 wine cellars, most open to the public, surround the oak-lined South African town, and tasting tours operate daily. Winter brings a four-day festival celebrating the local vintages. The historic town center houses the trading-post style shop Oom Samie se Winkel, the Neo-Gothic Moederkerk church, and museums dedicated to toys, military memorabilia, autos and early life on the Cape.
Restaurants in Stellenbosch

1. Waterford Estate

Blaauwklippen Road, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa +27 21 880 5300
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 520 reviews

Waterford Estate

Waterford Estate is situated in one of the world's most visually arresting pockets of paradise. Nestled in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley, in the world renowned Stellenbosch region, this 120 hectare property owned by Jeremy and Leigh Ord and managed by partner and Cellar master Kevin Arnold. The Estate boasts old citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender and rosemary beds. You'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of Provence or the Spanish countryside, with your first glimpse of this enchanting realm. However, we are immensely proud of our uniquely South African location and the rich diversity of our indigenous flora and fauna. The winery was styled along the engaging terracotta design and was the result of winemaker Kevin Arnold and architect Alex Walker teaming up to create the home of Waterford Estate wines. The centre piece of the magnificent courtyard is the Waterford Estate Fountain. This feature has been immortalized in the Waterford Estate label and represents a fundamental component of our philosophy. We believe in the old adage of 'less is more'. There is nothing pretentious or ostentatious about the estate, rather the visual impact is one of a seamless whole, which complements rather than detracts from the surrounding natural beauty. Welcome to our world, a world where the passing of time and the change in seasons only add rich layers of character and charm to the scene.

Reviewed By 811michael - United Kingdom

We visited the wonderful Waterford Estate, which is in one of the most visually arresting pockets of paradise. Nestled in the stunning and picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley in the world renowned Stellenbosch region, this estate boasts old citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender and rosemary beds. This place is South Africa's equivalent to Italy with buildings, landscapes and vineyards very similar to Italy. Waterford Estate is truly in a stunning beautiful location and the wines, especially the Cabernet Sauvignon, were of the highest quality to say the least. Drinking fine wine is like drinking a bit of bottled therapy because it relaxes your mind, body and soul and relives all the stress as you forget everything and just enjoy the amazing taste of the wines. Visiting Waterford Estate was a very relaxed and enjoyable experience and the staff were all wonderful, friendly and very welcoming. Overall this was a most enjoyable visit.

2. Rupert Museum

Stellentia Avenue | Off Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa +27 21 888 3344
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 155 reviews

Rupert Museum

Reviewed By Roddy P - Johannesburg, South Africa

R10 for pensioners and scholars and R20 for adults, makes this incredible collection of southern African art a real bargain.
Open except on Sundays and public holidays, the museum shows the famous Johannesburg Park Station Pierneef panels as well as a remarkable collection of Irma Stern - may be the best in South Africa.
The Rupert private collection is also interesting - but slightly more obscure.
Thoroughly recommended for an hour or two and within walking distance of the center of Stellenbosch, the museum gives you a great view on South African art from another time, era and political view of the world and of the country.

3. Stark-Conde Wines

Jonkershoek Valley | Oude Nektar Farm, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa +27 21 861 7700
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 187 reviews

Stark-Conde Wines

This boutique winery is picturesquely nestled in the Jonkershoek Valley, just 3 kilometres outside town in Stellenbosch. The setting is simply overwhelmingly beautiful - hence, the name of the Postcard Cafe. What was intended to attract more feet to the tasting room; a little cafe linked to the winery, has now become the winery linked to the Cafe instead. The winery is intensively family-run; German father, Japanese-German daughter and Cuban-American husband co-own the winery with their two daughters working weekends to help in the fully booked cafe. Winemaker and co-owner, Jose Conde hand-crafted his first-ever Cabernet Sauvignon vintage in a store room of the winery at the time in 1998. The four barrels aged gracefully and received five stars by John Platter -evidently Jose had been destined to be a winemaker and not a graphic designer. Adding to the talent, the farm's higher elevations and finely textured soils (perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon), made it a painless career change. 2013 celebrated Jose's fifteenth vintage with Old Mutual (South Africa) and won Stark-Conde the acclaimed trophy for Most Successful Producer in South Africa, Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon and Trophy for Best Shiraz. Steep alterations in vineyard elevation make for a range of sites with distinct characteristics. Combined with the tremendous winter rainfall in Jonkershoek, (3 times more rain than Stellenbosch) these qualities ensure a more than suitable terrain for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Syrah and Pinotage. Jose firmly believes in traditional winemaking - hand-picking, careful hand selection of the grapes, manual punch-downs, open-tank fermentation, basket pressing, and patient maturation for 22 months in French oak barrels. With only 6000 cases produced annually, wines are not sold commercially and the proverbial 'word of mouth' is solely relied upon for advertising. Not that the scenery should not be enough of a reason to visit - a charming, small Balinese tasting room floats on its own little island in the middle of the dam surrounded by mountain peaks, vineyards and tranquil valley vegetation. Tastings are personal and intimate, with attention paid to the finer details of each wine. Stark-Conde has three different brands. The Three Pines range is a single-vineyard, flagship estate selection while the Stellenbosch wines are blends from different vineyard blocks on the estate. Stark-Conde Field Blend is the only estate white wine produced and is compiled from a single block of three different cultivars grown together namely Roussanne, Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Verdelho. This wine is elegantly balanced with richness and aromatics from the Roussanne and Viognier, combined with fruit and acidity from the Chenin Blanc and Verdelho components. Stark-Conde Postcard Series are from selected vineyards outside the farm.

Reviewed By Chris O - Stillwater, Minnesota, United States

This was the first winery we did a tasting at upon our arrival in South Africa. The gentleman I was staying with, who has lived in Stellenbosch his entire life and knows all the wineries very well, said this was one of his favorites in the reason.
The wine was superb and the lady guiding us through the tasting was knowledgeable. But what put this location over the top was the view. We did the tasting on a porch built over a picturesque pond on the property. The entire area is directly in the shadow of the imposting Stellenbosch Mountain. Simply breathtaking and set our trip off to a great start!

4. Eagle Encounters South Africa

Spier Estate | Lynedoch Road, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa +27 21 858 1826
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 443 reviews

Eagle Encounters South Africa

Reviewed By Judelle D - Cape Town, South Africa

This place offers a wonderful experience with rescued birds. The daily shows are very good with passionate guided. The owls are adorable. So many wonderful birds to see. There are a number of shoes daily and there usually feature different birds. Well worth a visit!Thank you for your wonderful review. We are so glad that you enjoyed your experience with us.

5. Jordan Wine Estate

Stellenbosch Kloof Rd | Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch 7604, South Africa +27 21 881 3441
Excellent
75%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 259 reviews

Jordan Wine Estate

South African roots. Worldwide acclaim. Gary and Kathy Jordan have been making world-class wines since 1993 on a farm with a history going back over 300 years. He's a geologist, she's an economist - together this husband and wife team is a phenomenon. Gary's parents, Ted and Sheelagh, bought the 146-hectare Stellenbosch property in 1982, and embarked on an extensive replanting programme, specializing in classic varieties suited to the different soils and slopes. From the Jordan hillside vineyards one has spectacular panoramic views of Table Mountain, False Bay and Stellenbosch. Gary and Kathy worked internationally for two years, refining their high-energy instincts with practical experience. They returned home to build a cellar in 1992. The following year the vines were judged ready for making wines that would carry the Jordan name. From that first year it was obvious that a new star had been added to the winemaking firmament. Continuing success has enlarged the team, with the focus on producing fiercely individual wines that combine the fruity accessibility of the New World with the Classic Elegance of the Old. Jordan wines - a team effort, distinctly individual in character. Unique by Nature's Design. The Jordan philosophy is simple: Success begins in the vineyards. Exceptional wines are made possible by careful management of the farm's extensive natural assets through innovative canopy management and selecting varieties and clones specifically suited to the various soils and slopes. Unique by Nature's Design, the Jordan slopes face North, South, East, and West, with vineyards lying at differing altitudes from 160 to 410 m above sea level. The vineyards with their close proximity to both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans benefit from coastal fog and cool breezes. A mild Mediterranean climate with a maritime influence minimizes the risk of frost damage. The soils at Jordan have evolved from 600 million year old Cape Granite, and range from deep, well-drained clay-loam to gravelly and sandy duplex soils situated on clay. The Jordan philosophy combines the vineyards' natural assets with innovative management, creating a profound expression of terroir. It also includes a profound respect for nature with a selection of indigenous flora and fauna to be found on the farm Technology in the hands of Mother Nature The cellar is pure Jordan. An elegant, yet bold fusion of Old and New World architectural ideas. State-of-the-art, practical and functional, the high-tech elements blend easily with the forces of nature. The cellar is designed around a gravity flow system using natural cooling through recessing the cellar into the slope of the mountain. Stainless steel fermentation tanks, varying in capacity, enable fruit from individual vineyards to be vinified separately. Tanks are jacketed with cooling bands to ensure controlled fermentation and storage temperatures. The barrel-fermented white wines are made according to Classic Burgundian methods. Fermentation takes place in the coolest area of the underground cellar. Separate barrel cellars are designated for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz where the wines mature and undergo malolactic fermentation in Bordeaux-shaped barrels. To ensure the highest level of quality, all wine is bottled and labeled on site, thus completing the circle from vineyards to wine. The Jordan cellar - a perfect environment to transform exceptional fruit into world-class wine.

Reviewed By halfkel - N.Ireland

Visited for lunch in the restaurant. Booking is esssential.
OMG what a setting. The views are amazing.. the restaurant very contemporary open plan kitchen and the staff were friendly, welcoming and attentive.
The menu was unreal and food amazing....mussels that i have ever seen the size of and wow what a taste! The main course beef was melt in your mouth and the wine pairings just perfect.
The Cheese Room is a must.... it is what is says on the tin.. you get to pick your cheese in a room off the restaurant with figs and accompaniments and the taste was amazing.
Overall I would say one of the best restaurants on our trip!

6. Marianne Wine Estate

Valley Road | off R44 Klapmuts, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa +27 21 875 5040
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 215 reviews

Marianne Wine Estate

A unique wine tasting experience. OPEN everyday of the year from 11am to 5pm. A boutique wine farm offering an excellent array of Tasting Experiences, including the famous Wine & Biltong Pairing. Situated in an elevated setting at the Simonsberg Mountain, take in far reaching views over vineyards and mountain ranges, whilst enjoying some of the finest wines the Cape has to offer - presented by passionate and informative staff.

Reviewed By Mbuyilukasa - Johannesburg, South Africa

What a pleasant Sunday it was.
Went for wine tasting with my colleagues and we enjoyed every moment of it. Great ambiance good music and wonderful atmosphere . Staff was lovely and most thanks to Riaan and Ciska for sharing their wine knowledge with us. They certainly deserve a 5 star for excellent and top notch service.. We will definitely be back!

7. Warwick Wine Estate

R44 | Between Stellenbosch & Paarl, Stellenbosch 7607, South Africa +27 21 884 4410
Excellent
71%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 506 reviews

Warwick Wine Estate

The #1 winery on Trip Advisor in the Stellenbosch region for almost 3 years. Warwick has become known as one of the most welcoming destinations with a truly authentic experience & friendly ambience. Open 365 days a year, join us for our famed 'Gourmet Picnic', delicious 'Vineyard Tapas' and a tutored wine tasting. Bring your friends & family for a 'BIG 5 WINE SAFARI' or just laze around on our magnificent lawns under the trees. This kid-friendly historic property will wow you.

Reviewed By David B - Hermanus, South Africa

An unplanned visit to Warwick became a memorable one with special mention and thanks to Elton and Zenande for their friendly, highly efficient service. The food and wines were thoroughly enjoyed and our doggy was welcomed as well! Exceptional overall experience, we'll be back! Thank...MoreDear David, Thank you so much for your kind words which will most certainly be passed on to the Warwick Team. I was delighted that you had such a pleasant visit to Warwick. We hope to welcome you back soon. All the best, Mike @mikeratcliffe

8. Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden

Cnr. Van Riebeeck Street and Neethling Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa +27 21 808 3054
Excellent
53%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 706 reviews

Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden

The Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden, located in the historical center of Stellenbosch, is the oldest university botanical garden in South Africa. This compact Garden houses an enormous diversity of plants, both indigenous to South Africa and exotic. The Garden is open to the public and a R10 admission applies. Although the Garden does not have a visitor parking area, a parking lot is located adjacent to the garden in Van Riebeeck Street.

Reviewed By fitxifitxi - San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain

These botanical Gardens managed by Stellenbosch University are small enough not to get bored of plants but still good for a morning or evening plan. YOu can find bonsais, aromatic plants, a pond full of water flowers, little benches surrounded by lust, a shop and a restaurant which offers tasty food.
Before, the entry was free but now you pay ZAR10 unless you're Stllenbosch University student/stuff then you don't pay. They open everyday until 17:00 in the evening.
With the severe draft that Western Cape is undergoing lately one of the only green spaces left around, so don't miss it!!

9. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch, South Africa +27 21 866 1560
Excellent
60%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 235 reviews

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Reviewed By DeeVee89

Had an early morning hike in this beautiful reserve. The views were spectacular! The first section of the hike to the first waterfall was relatively easy the extended strip to the second waterfall was far tougher though. The second waterfall is however worth the more strenuous hike. Overall a lovely nature experience.

10. Spier Wine Farm

Annandale Road, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa +27 21 809 1944
Excellent
53%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 841 reviews

Spier Wine Farm

Spier is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa, with a recorded history dating back to 1692. Spier's winery has won multiple awards in recent years, including Producer of the Year (Mundus Vini, Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2011). We also performed exceptionally at the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition (five Best in Class Gold medals and two trophies), and were the top performing SA winery at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles for three consecutive years. The Spier cellar has ISO 22000 certification, is Fair Trade accredited, organically certified and follows the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) criteria.

Reviewed By Garth100

Nice place with good areas to eat or just walk around before you do any wine tasting.
The choice of wines available is good with something for everyone.
Unable to do the eagle encounter due lack of time on the day which was a shame as looked good

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